Prices of large LCD panels on an upswing

Television manufacturers are increasingly having to pay more for large LCD panels, reflecting growing demand for panels 40 inches and larger as consumers seek ever-bigger models.The price of 42-inch open-cell panels — semi-finished products shipped without backlights — was about $150 apiece in December, rising 3-4% from the previous month.


That marked the sixth straight month of increasing prices and the highest amount since August 2015. Meanwhile, 55-inch panels jumped $10 to $20 from the prior month to around $200.

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics converted some of its production lines for 40-inch and larger LCD panels to organic light-emitting diode panels. Sakai Display Products, a panel manufacturer jointly managed by Sharp and its parent company, Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seeing sustained demand for use within the corporate group. This has led to concerns of supply shortages since new plants that Chinese companies are rushing to build will not go onstream for some time.

LCD Panels Yole

In contrast, 32-inch panels, which were previously the industry benchmark, were priced at around $78 apiece in December, unchanged from the previous month after climbing for six straight months through October. This size is still the most popular, accounting for more than 30% of all panels in terms of TV shipping volume.

According to TV sales volume projections for 2016 from Mizuho Securities, 10% fewer 30- to 39-inch models were sold than in the prior year. In contrast, sales volumes of 40- to 49-inch TVs grew 9%, while those of 50- to 59-inch sets climbed about 10%. This is partly the result of some TV manufacturers scaling back output of 32-inch models.